I was the youngest of two daughters born and raised by working class parents in St. Cloud, MN. My father a navy veteran, suffered from mental illness- lacking resources to heal like so many other veterans. My mother, a drafts-woman, struggled as the bread-winner in a predominantly male industry. My adolescence was anything but easy, having moved 13 times by my 15th birthday.
Life has its way of confronting us with the unexpected, and I was no exception to the rule in becoming a mother at the age of seventeen. Shortly after the birth of my daughter, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Prior to her passing she asked I promise that no matter what challenge stood before me, I would graduate college.
I spent the next ten years working full-time during the day at an oil change shop and attending college part-time in the evenings. In 2008, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the College of St. Scholastica- the commencement ceremony was held on Mother’s Day.
At the age of 24, I made the decision to leave an abusive relationship, and became a single mother of three. I made the choice to become a survivor, not a victim and began my journey of healing in advocating against domestic violence. I have shared my personal journey as a guest speaker for Criminal Justice students at SCSU and at St. Cloud Police Youth Leadership Academy for girls.